The Hazards of a
Photo Society Photographer...

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

Reality Check

  • Hunted with Bows and Arrows

    1
  • Run Checkpoint

    13
  • Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

    1
  • Meningitis

    1
  • Robbed

    13
  • Wound Infection

    30
  • Broken Ribs

    6
  • Punched in Face

    1
  • Stabbed

    1
  • Plane or Helicopter Crash

    5
  • Lost in Andes

    2
  • Amoebic Dysentery

    20
  • Broken Tail Bone

    1
  • Rope Burn

    10
  • Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

    2
  • Giardia

    8
  • Severe Insect Problems

    12
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

    1
  • Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

    1
  • Severe Diarrhea

    90
  • Robbed

    5
  • Lost at Sea

    1
  • Falls

    12
  • Beaten

    3
  • Car or Bus Crash

    7
  • Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

    3
  • Assorted Animal Attacks

    8
  • Stoned by Religious Group

    2
  • Chased by Crocodile

    1
  • Imprisoned

    3
  • Blinded by Wasps

    1
  • Fall Into Crevasse

    2
  • Random Assault

    6
  • Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

    2
  • Broken Bones

    4
  • Spitting Cobra Attacks

    1
  • Chased by Wild Elephant

    3
  • Acid Dripping Caves

    1
  • Flesh Eating Parasites

    1
  • Hypothermia

    9
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

    1
  • Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

    29
  • Threatened / Detained / Abducted

    21
  • Penis Fish

    1
  • Lost on Arctic Ice

    1
  • Viper in Camera Bag

    1
  • Diagnosed PTSD

    1
  • Broken Nose

    2
  • Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

    1
  • Held at Knifepoint

    1
  • Venomous Bites

    9
  • Dengue Fever

    1
  • Arrest or House Arrest

    33
  • Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

    1
  • Tear Gassed

    4
  • Teargassed

    2
  • Groped

    9
  • Buried in Avalanche

    2
  • Scaffolding Collapse

    1
  • Paraglider Crash

    21
  • Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

    1
  • Malaria

    5
  • Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

    1
  • Temporary Blindness

    2
  • Dislocations

    7
  • Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

    1
  • Severe Dehydration

    19
  • Strongyloide Invasion

    1
  • Various Parasites

    16
  • Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

    1
  • Groped

    2
  • Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

    1
  • Burns

    4
  • Extreme Toxins

    3
  • Held at Gunpoint

    2